As we all know the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses not just in Derbyshire, but worldwide. Some people, however, have seen this as an opportunity to retrain or even start their own business, focusing on when lockdown has finished and when society begins to reopen again.
As we all know the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses not just in Derbyshire, but worldwide. Some people, however, have seen this as an opportunity to retrain or even start their own business, focusing on when lockdown has finished and when society begins to reopen again. Nick from Chesterfield Escape Rooms decided to take the plunge and set up during the pandemic. We caught up with Nick to find out about the process of setting up a business during uncertain times.
Tell us a little bit about Chesterfield Escape Rooms. When does it open and what can customers expect when they can see it?
We have everything crossed that the Government Covid restrictions are lifted on the 17th May 2021. The rooms are so exciting and are tried and tested in the south of England with over 30,000 players having played them to date. Each game is themed, one is about a Bank that has stolen your aunty’s gold and you want to steal it back in dark of the night. One is about a haunted prison cell where you are blindfolded and handcuffed on entry. The final game is where you have been entrusted to mind a friend’s 6 cats for a holiday and the owner is returning in an hour and guess what…the cats are missing!
How difficult was it (compared to normal times) to set up the business?
We were originally planning for a 17th March opening so we only had 12 weeks to go from taking the building on to opening. We had a great team around us, using local friends to help with design and build and due to the tight time-scales, they all prioritised my project which was brilliant.
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
The biggest challenge was my lack of knowledge of some of the processes around the redesign of an old building such as Building Control, gaining fire officer approval, Fire safety systems, planning permission etc.
How did you stay “Covid safe” during the process and how did this affect the development?
We started the process just as lockdown 3.0 started so we were very aware of the risks. All of the people involved in the process worked whilst distanced, wore masks and we provided sanitisation at various areas of the building. We also had a daily briefing to ensure safety Covid was at the forefront of people’s minds. No mask no work!
Did you marketing strategy have to change to reach potential customers?
Escape Rooms are a well trodden path so to speak, so the strategy has been simple so far with the exception of working with Peak, that wasn’t planned! The plan was to work through social media, local tourist and business hubs and stay in the forefront of people’s minds. Our online response has been phenomenal so far and we seemed to have peaked a lot of interest – no pun intended!
What advice would you give others thinking of starting up businesses right now?
Do something you will enjoy and be passionate about, don’t make it about money. Making a decent living is about doing the right thing for customers, having and executing an agile plan recruiting great people and providing a working environment for those great recruits to flourish. The rest will take care of itself. Also, whatever you think your budget is, add 50% on! Do your planning, work with the local government team on building planning and get associated permissions as early as possible because there are consequences if you don’t.
Check out Chesterfield Escape Rooms at www.chesterfieldescaperooms.co.uk.
You can be an Escape Rooms legend! Win a voucher to play all 3 games of Chesterfield Escape and Enter the hall of Fame. Terms and conditions available by calling 01246 720088.